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ReconRobotics Makes Grab for Huge Part of 440 Band

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AA7BQ, Feb 24, 2010.

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  1. AA7BQ

    AA7BQ QRZ Founder QRZ HQ Staff QRZ Page

    This just out. A company called ReconRobotics has petitioned the FCC for permission to operate in middle of our UHF band.

    Read the Full Report here:
  2. KC4RAN

    KC4RAN Ham Member QRZ Page

    These guys? Again?!? Someone dig out the old links...

    [edit] This is an order, not an application. It's a done deal.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  3. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, I guess at least they read my comments, since there I am in footnote 33.

    But what they apparently ignored was the fact that there were scores of comments from law enforcement saying what a great product this was, how reliable it is, etc., etc., etc. All of those commenters were apparently oblivious to the fact that the manufacturer itself took great pains in its comments to concede that it must accept harmful interference from hams.

    It was very clear to me that the marketing folks were giving customers a completely different message than what they were telling the FCC.

    Yes, there will be some fine print in the manual saying this. But that's clearly not the expectation that they're giving to their law enforcement customers. They decided to save a few bucks and not re-channel it for their civilian law enforcement customers, and in the process, they built in inherent unreliability.

    For the benefit of future search engine visitors: ReconRobotics, Inc., the manufacturers of Recon Scout, decided to save money by using the same frequencies in the United States that they used for the military version of the product. The military version was manufactured for use outside of the United States. In the United States, those frequencies are used by radio amateurs, and there will be no way for those users to know that you are trying to use the Recon Scout for a life and death mission. Therefore, there is a relatively high possibility that the Recon Scout won't work when you need it most, because of interference. They could have solved this problem by changing frequencies, but that would have cost money.

    To get the FCC to approve the Recon Scout, they told the FCC that users of the Recon Scout would be required to simply accept interference, and that their customers wouldn't be able to do anything about it.

    Before any law enforcement agency buys the Recon Scout, I hope they look at the filings that Recon Robotics sent to the FCC to get approval. You might be very surprised to learn what they told the FCC about what they expect you to be able to simply live with.

    This is what Recon Robotics told the FCC: (emphasis added).

    Is that the same thing the salesman told you?
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  4. K7FE/SK2017

    K7FE/SK2017 QRZ Lifetime Member #1 Platinum Subscriber Life Member

    This is the conclusion:

    Adopted: February 22, 2010

    15. We conclude that ReconRobotics has shown good cause for waiver of Part 90 of the
    Commission's Rules to permit equipment authorization and customer licensing under Part 90 for the
    Recon Scout. Therefore, we grant ReconRobotics a waiver to permit equipment authorization and
    customer licensing under Part 90 for the Recon Scout
    , subject to the conditions set forth above.
    16. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 4(i) and 303(i) of the
    Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 303(i), and Section 1.925 of the
    Commission's Rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.925, that the Request for Waiver filed by ReconRobotics, Inc. on
    January 11, 2008, IS GRANTED SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS set forth in paragraph 11, supra.
  5. KE4VYR

    KE4VYR Ham Member QRZ Page

    How hard would it be to make these transmit on a higher frequency say around 460mhz which would be in the police and fire bands anyway?
  6. KF7CG

    KF7CG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Law Enforcement Live with Interference, HAHA!

    The notes in the authorizing order are well and good, but they give sources of interference absolutely no protection from anti-interferer spin from news media.

    I can just read the headlines:

    Local HAM Endangers the Life of Local Firefighters. This in large print page one with descriptions of the loss of use of the unit. All because and alledged Ham was alleged to have caused interference to the unit.

    The paper will investigate to find that Amateurs and the units share frequencies. Then will come the cry to remove the Amateurs, the Air Force had quite a battle over garage door openers not working because the expanded some of their surveillance activities and had to fight to keep frequencies. What change will Amateurs have.

    Then again given the low tolerance of people whose actions impeded the operation of local safety services, the degree of "non-existant" harrassement that a suspected intererer might be subject to is sobering.

    I feel that the FCC just doesn't get it or live in the real world.

  7. K4YZ

    K4YZ Guest

    Unfortunatley, the 420-450MHz band is not "our" band. We are secondary users here.

    Here's how this is going to pan out...One of these devices will be 'deployed' at some 'Columbine'-like scenario at the local college. They'll send the device in, but then the local evening 'drive time QSO net' will start up, and the 50 watt repeater, combined with nearby mobiles of similar power, will clobber the video signal from the robot. SWAT, not being able to get good intel from the robot, will have to go in blind. Some first-year pre-med student fresh from the farm will get killed in the cross-fire.

    Of course, the media will get ahold of it and "Ham Radio Operators Jam Rescue Effort, Student Killed" will headline the next day's news.

    That we were operating legally and in accordance with our licenses will be irrelevent.

    Shortly thereafter, the parents of the deceased student will start some 'foundation' for fighting anything that has to do with Amateur Radio, from spectrum protection (which should have prevailed here) to PRB-1 type rules. Commercial entities will load it up with millions-of-dollars in hopes that this altruistic organziation, plastered with the face of the dead student, will do what they have not been able to do...dislodge Amateurs from prime spectrum.

    Thanks, FCC...Back to using the same dump-huck allocation rationales that you used when you created the 11 meter CB band, I see.

    Steve, K4YZ
  8. KC9XG

    KC9XG Ham Member QRZ Page

    The first unit acquired must be on 442-448 Mhz which happens to include FM repeater outputs. The second unit must be on 436-442 Mhz and the third unit must be on 430-436 both of which include Amateur Fast Scan TV etc.

    It appears the intent of these frequency selections was to protect Amateurs from interference at the expense of accepting interfence to the Recon Scout.

    An agency considering using these units would be wise to purchase 3 units to avoid the possiblity of interference on 1 or more channels. However, this may increase the likelyhood of interference to the Amateur service.

    Any potential interference to the Amateur service should be intermittant and short lived if the devices are used as intended. It is not unlikely that they will not always be used as intended.....

    Bill KC9XG
  9. AK4MP

    AK4MP QRZ Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    One MAJOR thing I see wrong with entire thing is that some states, including Kentucky, the mentality is that once a license is issued for these robots to be used by Law Enforcement that the frequencies to be used become "LAW ENFORCEMENT FREQUENCIES" and in Kentucky it is against the law to interfere with law enforcement communications. I can't remember off hand if it is a Class A misdemeanor or a Class D Felony. I would hate to be driving in down town Lexington talking on UHF with this thing in operation and be accused of interfering with their tactical use. I don't care if these frequencies are 2ndary to Amateur radio the mentality of some of our officers are screw you.

    Another problem I see is having 2 or 3 agencies issuing licenses for these things. If they are going to be licensed then let the FCC be the only agency issuing those licenses.

    I use to work with officers with this type of mentality. That was for almost 20 years. I have had my HT's taken from me because they said I could Tx on law enforcement frequencies. I got the radios back once their radio man told them my radios were not modified.
  10. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm not particularly concerned about what the headlines are going to say. I'm more concerned that someone might really get killed because of the way these are going to be marketed. If you read the comments submitted by law enforcement officers, it is very clear that the manufacturer never bothered telling them that "they will have no right to complain" because of a "disruption to video", and that they'll have "no way to identify the source of the interference".

    But they got approved because that's what they told the FCC.
  11. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well this is likely to be what happens down the road sometime.

    I wonder what video format they are using?
    Sure would like to watch.
  12. K8MHZ

    K8MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    They have no right to complain. No problem, use a mode that FM won't interfere with. Spread spectrum comes into mind.

    My question is, do we have a right to complain? Does this order give them the right to interfere with other users of the same spectrum?
  13. KC7NOA

    KC7NOA Ham Member QRZ Page


    I wonder if a EME station down the block on 440 running 1.5KW might interfere with this device??
  14. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The report claims these units are limited to one watt peak output (a quarter watt average power)
    These things are going to be on the ground and the antenna height is going to be rather low.
    I would suggest there would be little interference to amateur radio unless you are right on top of them or they are operating one in a high rise building.

    Law enforcement does like to throw it's weight around sometimes. Unless they can prove deliberate interfearance there shouldn't be a problem.
  15. KR3P

    KR3P Ham Member QRZ Page

    You mean like 900 MHz and all those flea-power devices? ;->

    They should do a couple of things:

    1. Consider the 900 MHz band since it's intended for like-devices.

    2. Make the SW smart enough that if it gets interference on 445 MHz, it switches to 439 MHz, then 433 MHz, Etc.

    3. Our FD just got a new thermal imaging camera - it operates in the 2.5 GHz band. Why can't they share that spectrum? It's more secure, too, as most scanners don't cover it.

    And "no way to identify the interference"??? If you're seen in the area and each time you pick up your mic, they lose video, the source seems pretty obvious.

    Deliberate interference or not, you're going to get a lot of 'attention' real quick.

    Oh, and I guess this puts NY hams off the 440 band since in NY it is illegal to have a radio capable of reception on frequencies used by Public Safety. When they adopt even a "secondary basis" status, the "primary" users can no longer legally use their band due to existing state laws - laws which should be subject to federal preemption in the first place. (Primary with respect to the robots - I know we don't have "primary" status on the 440 MHz band).


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